Anyone else’s kids sick? Or sick themselves?
From what I’ve seen pretty much everywhere, the answer is “YUP.”
It’s just that time of year I guess. Speaking of that time of year, thanks for being patient with me as I took a few intentional weeks not to write and share it with the world. I’ve found in my own life there’s a lot to be said for setting it all aside for God and surrendering the whole thing once again to Him. So if you happen to follow me here, we’re back!
My kids really aren’t too sick, but in the past few months both of them have experienced allergic reactions. The kind that landed us in the ER. These are just the most unpleasant experiences as a parent. Thankfully they were both treated insanely well and really quickly and are both doing fine. But yesterday we were at the doctor for normal winter symptoms. Fever, sore throat, all the yuck.
Waiting in the doctor’s office (for more than an hour!!!) I found myself wondering if I was a crazy person or maybe just a really bad parent because part of me enjoys having a sick kid.
Yeah… I said it.
Just hang on, though. I said part. The bigger part of me hates it. It’s awful to watch, it’s a helpless feeling, it’s inconvenient, it’s exhausting… lots of it is just bad. But then there’s the other small piece. I don’t even think I could give it a percentage but there’s this part of your brain that just kind of shuts off, and whatever else needed to happen can wait. Sick kids = quality time. Whether you like it or not. And mine are young enough that when they’re sick they’re suuuuuper cuddly. Like I said, most of it’s really sucky. But then there are the moments when they fall asleep on you like they did when they were a baby. You’re reminded that the little punk that wears you out is a little helpless person, and you really do like them. And you just know deep down they feel like crap, and anything you can do to make it better, you just do.
So, yeah. Honestly, I don’t hate that part. I don’t hate the part that I am the one who can make them feel better. I don’t hate that they just want to be still with me. I (usually) don’t hate that it forces me to focus on them and be still myself.
I wonder so very often how God feels about everything I’m doing. I believe 100% that His heart breaks when mine is broken. And when my body or my heart is in pain, He’s in pain, too. That He grieves when I grieve. But I have begun to wonder if there’s that Father piece of His heart that just swells when I slow down enough to need Him. When I’ve run myself into the ground, and I know I can’t make myself feel better. He hates that I feel that way, but He’s loving that we get some time together.
This is what He has to say to all of us, no matter how many times we need to hear it:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” [Matthew 11:28-30 msg]
If you read that like I read it, your brain is kinda like, “That sounds nice.” But not like an actual possibility. But is it possible? We view it as more of a “running to God when we get sick” kind of mentality. That’s when we get our rest, right? When we have no choice but to collapse, just like a sick kid.
No. God’s talking about recovery here. Restoration. Not even rejuvenation or a recharge. A recharge is what you do with your phone when the battery’s low. And then we use it, run it as long as we can and charge it up again when we have time. God’s way is different. It’s consistent and it’s all-encompassing. He makes things new, not just good enough to get by.
So here’s what matters. When we run ourselves ragged, and we’re finally sick and collapsing in front of Him, we feel bad. We spend most of our time explaining to Him where we’ve been and trying to figure out how to get back and running our minds and our mouths… All the while, He’s waiting. With open arms. He knows where you’ve been. And He cares where you’re going.
If you find yourself feeling worn, like a sick little kid who needs to be held, just stop fooling yourself. You’re not fooling God. You’ve got to run. Drop it all. Drop the excuses that you think He wants to hear. Drop your need for control.
And if you don’t have the energy to run, then just turn around.
Your enemy has been whispering that God hasn’t been following you the whole time. That while you’ve worked and run the opposite way, God’s merely been shaking His head at you in disappointment. It’s simply not true. Face the lie head on and turn around.
“Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged.
God, your God is with you every step you take.”
[Joshua 1:9 msg]